There is something exciting and thrilling in learning a new skill. If you’re anything like me, the idea of picking up skills and talents which you have admired for so long feels like a new adventure. And the look on people’s faces when you can tell them, “Yes, I have decided to learn to do that myself!”, is intoxicating.
However, moving from this decision to learn into the actual process of learning can be incredibly overwhelming. This is usually the point in my “adventure to adapt my new skill” where I find myself faltering.
This is what happened when I decided to learn to play the harmonica. I had what I needed to learn but I was at a loss on how to start. The idea of drilling over notes is entirely too dull in order to keep up my momentum of practice, which anyone can tell you is essential for success and progress. But here is what I have discovered is the most beneficial and motivating way to keep up with repetitive practice:
First, discover a way to hold yourself accountable. For me, I started a blog so that I would have an audience expecting my progress from practice.
Next find a song that you know well and enjoy. Simply search for its harmonica tabs online, and then, start playing! Harmonica tabs are extremely easy for beginners to read because you do not have to know how to read music or know which notes are where on the instrument.
You may not sound that great right away, but I found that using songs you are already familiar with is much easier and more fun than songs you have never heard before. This way, you will want to practice, because you can hear the progress you make as you work with familiar tunes. The first song that I learned was Happy Birthday, which you can watch me play on my blog. And yes, this is an incredibly boring and cliché song for beginners, but when I heard the right notes being produced as I played I was reinvigorated and eager to continue. It also helps a lot with learning rhythm within a song if you are already familiar with it. The more you practice, the better you will become at all of the various techniques, and will eventually be able to take on new sings. And who knows, maybe you will gain enough courage to step out of the box and create a masterful ditty of your own!
But get out there and START! Keep it simple and exciting for yourself, and the progress will be impossible to ignore.